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"Make a Living Writing is the only blog I read religiously. It's always on top of the news and advice writers need RIGHT NOW to earn more from their writing." —Linda Formichelli, The Renegade Writer

How to Be Original: 18 Ideas to Jump-Start Your Creativity

How to Be Original: 18 Tips for Writers. Makealivingwriting.comDo you feel like everything has already been said? That it’s impossible to be original, in an age where everyone has instant access to everything?

Well, I disagree.

Fresh, original writers and bloggers emerge every day. Each of us is an utterly unique human being.

Yet originality remains a struggle for many writers. Here’s a typical comment I recently got on one of my blog posts:

“I run a blog and I’ve been trying to be original in my content. The more I try, the more I get less original.

“What’s your advice on this?” –Ifeanyi

When you feel like you have nothing fresh to contribute, it’s time to take a step back and shake up your creative process.

I put together this list of 18 originality-enhancing ideas because in Hebrew, the word for life, chai, has the numerical value of 18. Pump some new life into your writing with these!

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More Blog Traffic With Pinterest: Inside One Writer’s 161% Jump

Get more blog traffic with Pinterest. Makealivingwriting.comI remember the first time I heard of Pinterest. It was four years ago. I was having coffee with a friend. She couldn’t stop talking about the platform, and how to get more blog traffic with Pinterest.

Her enthusiasm for Pinterest was infectious. When I got home that day, I created an account and started pinning away.

Want to know how to use Pinterest to grow your blog traffic? Let’s look at this platform’s potential to help bloggers.

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Earn More Freelancing in 2017: Ask These 4 Questions Now

Earn more freelancing in 2017Are you desperate to get more freelance writing gigs?

Well, today I want to talk about how to bust out of the feast-or-famine trap and earn more freelancing. You do this by laying the groundwork now for a thriving business in the fall and on into 2017.

No, it’s not too early to think about next year! In many ways, it’s the perfect time.

The less desperate you seem when you present yourself to clients, the more likely it is you’ll be able to line up some great-paying freelance work. You seem busy and successful, instead of broke and pathetic.

Thinking way ahead also allows you to research prospects more carefully. It takes the pressure off and lets you take time to research the size of their annual revenue, or the types of articles they publish, to see if they’re a good fit for you.

If you need to, continue marketing for more immediate gigs. But reserve some time for pursuing your long game.

When you inquire about opportunities for the coming year, that telegraphs to prospects that you must be booked up until then. Why, you’re marketing six months out! That’s a pro move.

What can you say to prospects now to pave the way to better earnings late this year or early next?

Here are four questions that can start a conversation with prospects, position you as a pro — and help you land some juicy freelance gigs:

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How Freelancers Get Hired Online: The Essential To-Do List

How freelancers get hired online. Makealivingwriting.comIt’s summer. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get terrific new freelance clients without having to do anything?

Well, you can — if you know how freelancers get hired online.

For starters, you need to be easy to find and contact. You also need to make a good impression, once they find you. Unfortunately, most writers don’t make this easy.

If you’re a freelancer who’s never gotten an inbound lead — a prospect who calls without your contacting them first, or applying to their job ad — this post is for you.

Even if you have a modest portfolio, a strong online presence can make a big difference, both in the number and quality of prospects you attract.

Let’s go through the to-do list of important items I ask writers to check off:

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Freelance Writing Lessons From a Rude Editor: 7 Takeaways

Freelance writing lessons from a rude editor. Makealivingwriting.comFor a while, I had a large client that hired many writers. My contact was an editor who managed the freelance staff. He was an abrupt man who spared no feelings.

At the time, I had only worked directly with clients. I could meet their goals, but my writing lacked force. I over-wrote, dismissed structure, and indulged my narcissism with unnecessary wit. I wasn’t bad, but I had that collegiate write-everything-you-can-think-of mentality.

My first experience working with a professional editor was heart-wrenching. It was a trial by fire: get better to get paid. But those lessons stuck with me and made me a better writer.

Want to improve your writing?

Avoid making the same mistakes as I did, and check out the seven hardest freelance writing lessons this editor taught me:

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6 Clever Ways Article Writers Can Find ‘Real People’ to Interview

How to Find Real People for Article Interviews. Makealivingwriting.com

I was in New Mexico to celebrate my grandma’s 96th birthday when I got an email I couldn’t ignore. It was from the editor at Good Neighbor magazine, a custom pub for State Farm insurance.

Subject line: Happy New Year, and an assignment?

A $1.50-per-word feature story was mine for the taking, but there was a big catch. I had to find three people who had survived extreme situations — with a story deadline less than two weeks away.

Successful article writers often have to scramble to find sources like this.

Going into January with zero jobs lined up, I was desperate to get the gig. I wasn’t sure I could pull this together in time, but I had to try.

I deployed an arsenal of strategies from one of Carol’s Useful Writing Courses for finding sources. A few days later, the assignment was mine.

Need help finding sources for an assignment or crafting a killer query? Here’s how I did it —

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